Carrie Tolve

Barbie Underwear


Most say girls stop playing

with Barbie when their

friends do. I didn’t

because I was the older sister

and our attic, renovated

in creams and whites,

had become a

plastic heaven.


I stopped when my

sister held a Tommy doll

to Barbie’s bare breast

in front of mom and attested

to knowing that this was

how babies were fed-

that I had told her.


I stopped when I feared

she would discover the way

I put Barbie on top of Ken in

bed and I tore apart

the Velcro pads sewed onto the back

of her shirt to keep

her decent.


Now, I realize the sound

of Velcro departing Velcro is that of

a pad being pulled off

panties. It’s something I should have

been able to pick up on then, because

I still wore belly-button high

Barbie underwear when I

stopped playing with Barbie.



Hotel Bed


We fell asleep in a room that was 65 degrees

at the highest – mid July,

around 11:15 pm.

I was wrapped in your zip-up, maybe

your sweat pants.


I was buried underneath hotel sheets

and a stupidly thick comforter.

I had puked up pink vomit

and called it a night.


The next morning of our vacation

you told your parents that we

were alright.

We drove to a dive:

The Athen’s Diner (on the placemat

it goes by another name).

It was only us and a few tables packed

with old men drinking coffee.


We moved onto the city to: decorate our clothes

with museum badges, eat matching meals

of Cape Cod chips and grilled cheeses,

before inevitably arguing with the GPS

on where our next destination was –


back at the hotel, so that we could hang

the sign from the doorknob

and try sleeping again.



Shop Rite Cart


I overheard you talk

of Cheerios and wanted

to know if your mother

slipped you into a school dress

and combed your hair

before breakfast in a kitchen

that had not yet had an avocado

colored phone from the 70’s.


The dinner you place

in a Shop Rite cart,

I can only assume most of it

is Italian.

Parents now long passed

siblings married and responsible

for the ones pointing at the shelves

as the cart wheels click along.


You showed me a photo of you

at a coworker’s retirement lunch in

which my only recollection is

the black sports coat. I’d been

with you the morning of. Waiting

for the others, you pulled your

hair back with a comb

like James Dean.


I wonder now if there was a wine

glass in that picture that was

yours. Tipsy, I’d imagine

you flushed and shy

gently wrapping your fingers

around my elbow, humming

the theme song to Mister Ed,

the only song I knew of that you

committed to memory.


Carrie Tolve

Carrie Tolve is from northern New Jersey. She spends most of her time divided between work, binge watching Parks and Recreation, and reading. She has been published in Mock Orange Magazine and has work in the upcoming issue of The Meadow.

9/11 is a word now.

Children huddle in front
of glowing TV boxes
and are told to pray
by pale godless people
who look like cigarettes.

Hatred is a hard thing

to comprehend at this age.
Turns out, so is God.

So instead some stare at
or through
or into
the scene before them
and feel simply             happy

to be here-
huddled in this corner
in this classroom

far away and alive.


Jacob Louis Moeller

Jacob Louis Moeller is a poet, screenwriter, and server living the nightmare and chasing the dream in Los Angeles, California by way of Tucson, Arizona. Sweat and saguaros remind him of home.


Electrons circle

protons, neutrons

of an atom’s nucleus.


Radio signal, steady

beeps fade out, long

distance voyager.


People talk as their

electric and magnetic

fields converge.


Atoms bond together,

make molecules that

form everything.


Lone dog left

in a cage wonders

what he did wrong.


Biosphere clings

to lithosphere’s roll

round an elliptical.


by Steve Hood


Steve Hood is an attorney and political activist. His work won an award from the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association and has been published in many places including Crack the Spine, Maudlin House, and the anthology Noisy Water. His chapbook, From Here to Astronomy, was published by Pudding House.

Finding Your Mind

I once walked calmly through the cold, dark woods

Not afraid of what could have lied ahead

Strapped to my cold back were my gear and goods

Far away from any cottage or bed

I went to be alone with just my mind

Needing some time for me to clear my thoughts

It was not long before my head aligned

And I finally got what I had sought

Walking this path taught me one simple fact

That in a place where dark and evil creaks

You always find what always seemed abstract

And you find out that you are not so weak

A place alone is a place to find peace

A place alone is for your mind’s release


by Trevor Tyma

Raychelle Lodato



Some days I’m convinced

It’s the pain that makes me real.

Reminding me I’m breathing.

That I am happy to be here.

That I am strong… but some days


Some days it spits and hisses,

and I just can’t love it when I feel so fragile.

It is replaying a slow beautiful loop of misery

Thundering down paper skin

sparks are bursting through the surface

and they are arranging themselves

into prickly and asymmetrical patterns


I close my eyes and I am rocking gently

counting the notes of this symphony

but my breath is coming in waves again

Those wild gulps are cresting the dam I’ve built

A dam made of “I can do it”s and porcelain

For a moment I give in and lean against it

Pressing my cheek on the cold reality of it

Hoping it will hold a while longer

But I can feel it giving, rubble is littering my lap again.


I’m trying to bite back a weakness

but my face heats as I feel the tears

It’s gone feral again

and in all its uncontrolled glory

It is flinging ugliness at my skin

It splatters and spreads like watercolors

Painting everything I touch a sick eggplant color

and leaving copper on my bitten tongue


Because I don’t look fucking sick Do I?!

I’m a tough girl!

It’s been this way so long…

Haven’t I gotten used to it?


Some days

Well, some days it just surprises me



You See Yourself


i see you, i see you seeing yourself

i wish I could see if you pick at the fuzz

on the arm of your sweater

when you read what I write,

that’s what I imagine

and yes I imagine too much

so much

picnics and fresh air and fresh fruit and fresh smiles

dark nights and warm fires and





books that you might actually read,

because you read things.

and you would remind me that i imagine too much


so much


but its never quite enough

i find myself spinning in your footsteps

like a vacuum

picking up whatever you have dropped

breathing it in with a whir and a grin

because like a vacuum,

yes either kind,

i am hungry

and empty

and always trying to fill myself






and if i was a betting woman,

and i am,

i would place money on the he loves you petals


because he does


at least in some small way

or you wouldn’t be reading this,

you wouldn’t be trying to figure out

how to stuff all these very visible feelings

back in between lines,

the lines i read between to get them.


Maybe we speak different languages,

maybe you don’t speak…

i worry a lot,

so much,

i should start a therapy group.

i wouldn’t invite you

of course

you would already occupy so much of that hour.


by Raychelle Lodato


Raychelle Lodato is a 36yr-old mother, wife, and poet who writes under the names Cybilseyes and Diminished.Me

Stephen Cloud

Broken Main


Someone from Taft Hall calls it in:

flooded grass, stranded cars.

More trouble with the water main.

Every week, the old iron pipe

rusts through somewhere and bursts,

swamping campus lawns and parking lots.


Same old, same old, says the boss

when we reach the scene, three of us

squeezed onto the truck’s bench seat,

staring at the task ahead.

Water bubbles from a spring hole

and spills down the sidewalk.

Lot A has turned into a small lake.


Years ago it was all play time,

splashing around in pools like this.

With the blackbirds I looked for worms;

then an afternoon at the creek

waiting for fish to bite.

Now sloshing is part of the job.


Turn off the main, drive down to the shop,

wait for the water to recede a bit.

Lunch and Paul Harvey on the radio

until the boss says, Max and Stephens

get on up there, dig us a hole.


With each shovelful, water sucks back in.

Boots soak through, feet prune up.


An hour later, our little triad stares down

at exposed pipe, a six-inch split.

Max kneels in the muck to work the hacksaw.

The boss heads back to the shop to fetch some parts.


People watch our work from office windows,

sipping coffee, looking cool in air conditioning.

One suit grins and gives the thumbs-up.


We’re still at it when the secretaries

leave for the day. The boss doffs his hat

and says Ma’am as they pass.

We watch them mince down the sidewalk,

gingerly picking a path around puddles.

The prettiest one slips off her shoes

and tiptoes barefoot to an islanded Mustang—

a real beauty, one slick ride.


Come on now, the boss says,

no looking at the ladies.

We got work to do.


Another four hours and

the busted pipe’s replaced,

the hole refilled, the lawn spruced up.

The summer sun has already set.


Turning on the main again, we know

the next weak spot down the line

will start to feel the pressure,

ready to burst. Give it a week

and we’ll find out where.



Visiting the Asylum


Noises outside: the beating of wings,

a persistent caw, caw, caw.

From the window I see

the evening sun—bloody

through the branches of a dead tree,

a crow perched near the top,

a groundskeeper crossing the leaf-filled lawn.


What did I expect to learn,

making this pilgrimage

just to visit his former room?


There’s passing chatter in the corridor,

the clacking wheels of a cart.

Somewhere a phone rings and rings,

a door clicks shut, footsteps fade.


Did he, too, hear the bird’s mockery?

Did it foretell renewed anxieties,
the advent of the crisis moment?

Did he stumble to this pane,

peering through the mist

of breath on glass, wondering

who called his name?


I imagine the anguish

when desperate for an answer

from God he gazed

upon this hysterical crow

and the black-garbed groundskeeper

now steadfastly lowering the flag.



by Stephen Cloud

After kicking around the West for a while (with stops in Spokane, Flagstaff, and Sedona), Stephen Cloud has settled in Albuquerque, where he’s fixing up an old adobe, working on poems, and pondering the official New Mexico state question: “Red or green?” Recent publications include work in Valparaiso Poetry Review, High Desert Journal, New Madrid, Shenandoah, and Tar River Poetry.

Listed at Duotrope
Listed with Poets & Writers
CLMP Member
List with Art Deadline
Follow us on MagCloud